tv The Daily Rundown MSNBC January 31, 2013 6:00am-7:00am PST
welcome back to "morning joe." it's time to talk about what we learned today. what did you learn, brian? >> i know you guys are doing something really cool. i went out to dinner last night with a good buddy from mine who lives in breezy point. his house was spared, but half of breezy point burned down. a lot of people still struggling out there. my wife's family is from seaside, new jersey, is shout-out to the good work that is still being done to rebuild. >> joe and i will be hosted "relief for rockaway" tonight at 6:30 p.m.. >> mike barnicle? >> i learned what we just saw, the piece that lewis did that we showed earlier, nothing can prepare you for the reality of the devastation in the rockaways. and in new jersey as well from sandy.
nothing can compare. pictures don't even get close to it. >> and time goes by, but these people are still in this reality right now. so please logon to the website and help out any way you can. >> no doubt about it, we've got to do everything we can. you know, the news trucks left, but the suffering remains there. something i saw along the gulf coast and now they're seeing it first hand on long island and certainly new jersey. so, again, for more information, visit reliefforrockaway.com and help out anyway you can. if it's way too early, what time is it? >> that would mean it's time for "morning joe," but right now it's time for our old pal, chuck todd. chuck?! thank you, brother mike. four miles, the rough distance between the u.s. capitol and the pentagon. it can feel like a lot longer than that for chuck hagel today, as republicans gear up for a good old-fashioned grilling on his nomination for secretary of defense.
one topic sure to come up is israel, which just launched an air strike in syria that u.s. officials say targeted a convoy of russian-made weapons that were headed for lebanon. now russia, the arab league, and hezbollah are all condemning the action. and the new chairman of the senate foreign relations committee pays back $60,000 to a donor for airplane rides. and that donor is under investigation by the fbi. much more on a stranger sorry surrounding senator bob menen z menendez. good morning from washington. it's thursday, january 31st, 2013. this is "the daily rundown." i'm chuck todd. now less than 30 minutes away from the start of chuck hagel's confirmation hearing to become the next secretary of defense. we'll take you there live for his opening statement, along with what's expected to be some tough questioning from some big-name republicans. let's get right to my first read of the morning. let's start with the hagel confirmation grilling. could be the most contentious nomination hear of the
president's second term and frankly, of any of the president's cabinet picks over the two terms. hagel's chances do look better today than at any point since his name was first floated. that said, he still has very little margin for error. senators are likely to quiz the plainspoken vietnam veteran on his positions on iran, iraq, israel, afghanistan, gay rights, and the u.s. nuclear posture. and that's just to start. hagel's confirmation battle is the first to be fought in the post-citizens united era of super pacs. why do we bring that up? well, for the last month, hagel's been hammered on-air by groups like americans for a strong defense, led by a handful of former romney advisers, and the american future fund to the emergency committee for israel, billionaire sheldon adelson is so invested in seeing his nomination voted down, that he has reached out directly to republican senators to try to get them to vote against hagel. the issues of concern to these folks are israel and iran. hagel once described pro-israel
groups as a jewish lobby and voiced opposition to unilateral sanctions on iran. now, hagel has spent time on capitol hill explaining his views, and they have been good enough for new york senator chuck schumer, who after wavering, now supports his nomination. but they haven't been good enough for a number of republicans, including texas senator john cornyn, who has decided to make himself the de facto leader of the hagel opposition. >> the nomination of chuck hagel to be the next secretary of defense has already done damage to the united states' credibility in its attempt to deny iran a nuclear weapon. >> hagel is also likely to face questions about his position on gay rights after his 1998 comments, criticizing a u.s. ambassador nominee as openly, aggressively gay. hagel apologized and that former adviser, james hormel, now supports hagel's nomination. but much of the opposition to hagel is rooted in his loud
split with the republican party over the iraq war and skepticism about his willingness to use force. in an interview with cnn, vice president biden argued that hagel is no dove. >> the idea of getting engaged in a ground war, in a country that's in transition is not a precipitation any military man would suggest. >> in many ways, obama's pick of hagel, who he forged a relationship with in the senate, then traveled with to afghanistan and iraq in july of 2008, along with cia nominee john brennan and incoming secretary of state john kerry represent a shift in the way the u.s. wages war and the president's attempts to put an imprint on u.s. foreign policy. today, hagel will have his first chance to publicly respond to his critics, in a 112-page questionnaire requested by the committee, hagel begins to do that on iran and israel. this is what he said in the questionnaire, and he'll be questioned about this today. on the questionnaire, i am committed to considering all
options to counter iran and its aggression and to maintain u.s. support for missile defense systems in israel. translation, he's for unilateral military action if necessary against iran. more. "if iran continues to flout its international obligations, it should continue to face severe and growing consequences. while there is time and space for diplomacy, backed by pressure, the window is closing." this is what he says on gay rights in the questionnaire, "i fully support gay and lesbian women serving openly in the u.s. military and am committed to a full implementation of the repeal of don't ask, don't tell." and on the use of force, "i believe we must think very carefully before we commit our armed forces to battlefields abroad. our forces deserve policies and planning worthy of the sacrifices they make in combat." it's likely that every senate democrat due to chuck schumer's support will back hagel. some not enthusiastically, but they'll do so. and right now there's at least
run republican who's planning to vote for his former republican colleague. that's 56 votes, enough for a majority passage, but not enough to prevent a filibuster if republicans go that route. seven republicans have already said that they would vote no and senator lindsey graham has said that he will block the nomination if he doesn't get answers on benghazi. >> the one thing i'm not going to do is vote on a new secretary of defense until the old secretary of defense, leon panetta, who i like very much, testifying about what happened in benghazi. i'm going to block hagel from going forward -- >> so you're going to block him? >> absolutely. >> so we're closely watching also hagel's old pal, former vietnam veteran, senator john mccain, who he very publicly split with on the iraq surge. the vietnam vet, max cleland, almost dared mccain to vote no. >> we all suffered the same fate, pretty much, in the same war. and i don't want see john turning his back on his brother. >> that vietnam caucus was very
close at one time. it's a shrinking caucus now in the u.s. senate, with many of those vietnam veterans not there anymore. well, the capitol hill drama today will be hagel's nomination. yesterday, it was all about guns. yesterday's senate hearing packed emotion. gabby giffords in conflict, dick durbin versus wayne lapierre and suggested just how hard the debate will be. giffords and her husband, mark kelly, made an emotional appeal to congress to expand background checks to gun shows and private sales. >> too many children are dying. too many children you must act. be bold. be courageous. >> my wife would not be sitting in this seat. she would not have been sitting here today if we had stronger background checks. >> but the national rifle
association chair, wayne lapierre, came out aggressively against background checks, arguing that the legislation which has the best chance in congress will do nothing to stem gun violence. >> my problem with background checks is you're never going to get criminals to go through universal background checks. >> we'll stop them from the original purchase. you miss that point completely. and i think it's basic. >> senator, i think you missed -- >> let there be order! >> and lapierre tried to turn the debate back on the administration. >> drug dealers with guns, gangs with guns, and felons with guns. they're simply not bei ining enforced. the numbers are shocking. in chicago, in one of the worst areas in the country for gun violence by criminals, it is 89 of 90 nerin terms of federal prosecutions, in the entire united states. >> it's actually 80th of 90. in an interview with telemundo's
jose balart, president obama was challenged on that point. asking why there's so much gun violence in chicago, despite that city having some of the toughest gun laws in the land. >> well, the problem is is that a huge proportion of those guns come in from outside of chicago. if you are just creating a bunch of pockets of gun laws, without having sort of a unified, integrated system, for example, of background checks, then, you know, it's going to be a lot harder for an individual community, a single community, to protect itself from this kind of gun violence. >> also in that interview, the president drew a line in the sand on immigration, saying he wants a bill done in the next six months. >> what we donate want is, i think, a vague promise that somewhere down the line, maybe, sort of, kind of, you may be able to achieve citizenship.
we want to give people clarity about how they can move forward. >> and he responded directly to the republican senator the effort most hinges on, florida's marco rubio. >> is this going to end up being a battle between you and marco rubio? >> no, i don't think so. look, we've put border security ahead of pathway to citizenship. we have done more on border security in the last four years than we have done in the previous 20. >> rubio's full court press to at least neutralize conservative critics continues, by the way. within hours of redstate's erick erickson publishing a diary against rubio's compromise, rubio responded with his own diary. it was similar to what he had for rush limbaugh the day before. he's reluctantly come to the conclusion that he has no choice but to try to forge a comprehensive compromise. "i do not pretend that this is a perfect solution. i know that the idea of accommodating people who
violated our immigration laws in any way makes many people uncomfortable, but we are better off solving this once and for all." one more thing, in that telemundo interview, the president was asked about what needs to be done in order for us to actually see actual normalization of relations between the united states and cuba. and he responded with a message for cuba's leadership. >> we have to do something about all those political prisoners who are still there. we've got to do something about just basic freedoms of the press and assembly. i mean, it's one thing to have cars from the 1950s. it's another thing when your whole political ideology is coming out, is 50 or 60 years old and it's been proven not to work. >> does the travel ban stay in place for the entire second term of obama? we'll see. well, we're just a few minutes away now from the start of chuck hagel's confirmation hearing. we're going to bring that to you live as soon as it starts. plus, another one of president obama's cabinet picks hits a little bit of a bump in the
road. democrats publicly criticizing cia nominee, john brennan. my gaggle's going to join me next early as we prepare for hagel and other stuff. first, a look ahead at the president's schedule. a quiet day for him on the record, with the focus on chuck hagel. but vice president biden, by the way, goes up to capitol hill to meet with senate democrats on guns. you're watching "the daily rundown," only on msnbc. people love our potpourri parties. it's a smell of a good time. this is the juniper! oh that is magical. [ male announcer ] when you combine creamy velveeta with zesty rotel tomatoes and green chiles, you'll get a bowl of queso that makes even this get-together better. you'll get a bowl of queso so if ydead battery,t tire, need a tow or lock your keys in the car, geico's emergency roadside assistance is there 24/7. oh dear, i got a flat tire. hmmm. uh... yeah, can you find a take where it's a bit more dramatic on that last line, yeah?
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the senate armed services committee will have a barrage of questions for him. they will include iran, gay rights, and israel. i want to bring in my gaggle early, nia-malika henderson, jane harman, republican ad maker and strategist brad todd, and michael shere from "time" magazine. michael, let me start with you. first of all, jr. stuck in our jump seat, to i want to -- >> i get sympathy. >> yeah, you get the sympathy first off here. i've contended that chuck hagel, he's probably on his way to confirmation, but he's got -- he can't mess up today. >> that's absolutely right. but there's no sign that he will mess up. he's already met with almost 60 senators. he hasn't really gotten many bad reviews coming out of it. he's already been asked all the questions he's going to be asked. i mean, we know what the accusations are against him. and we also know that on -- most of these accusations are coming out of quotes that are five, ten years old.
and he's said, i'm sorry for the things i've said that i shouldn't have said, and on message, he's not really that different from where he has to be, to get confirmed. i think the most interesting place to look here will be john mccain, and i expect, really, i'm trying to game that out in my mind. i don't see a scenario where john mccain turns against a fellow warrior from vietnam. i think what mccain wants out of this is an "i told you so" moment, where he can say, i was right about the surge. and i'm sure he'll get that today. >> jane, you've been in support of the hagel nomination. is there a better explanation on cos when it comes to iran or when it comes to the nuclear issue? one of the things -- he clearly was somebody that never thought he was going to be in a confirmation hearing, since he left the senate. you know, when he signed on for the zero nuclear weapons thing, and that's got some folks on the armed services not happy. >> well, sure it does. but as he says in his own
testimony, which i'm just reading now, he has a record, he stands by his record, he's made some mistakes, he's erolfed, thank goodness, on the gay issue, and he says in his testimony, he'll say it in a few minutes, that he fully supports obama's positions. and he'll be grilled about that and grilled on his past. but in the end, the senate is a club. he needs five republican votes. >> five more, right? >> five more. several -- well, there are 55 democrats -- >> he's got one republican now. >> so he needs four more. and lindsey graham's is using the hearing as leverage to get more information on benghazi, but that doesn't relate to hagel. in the end, it will be hard to vote against a guy, who with his brother, has five purple hearts in vietnam. >> i want to show some of these ads that have been running, and where they've been running, it's not just a classic washington, d.c., ad. it's been running in alaska, alaska, targets bo s both lisa
murkowski and begich. arkansas, probably a targeting of pryor, who's up in 2014. colorado, that surprised me a little bit. i don't think either senator is seen as likely to be against. louisiana, i get landrieu there. and north carolina -- >> it's all about the 2014 map. this is -- there are the six senators in states who are democrats, who were carried by romney, and then colorado, which is a state republicans have to get back in the win column in national elections. >> in general. >> in general. >> it's a high priority. so these states are going to show up on this show a lot. >> all the time. no matter what conversation we're having, happens to be talking about hagel. will the republican party really go about a filibuster here? >> young, i think it certainly would be unprecedented for a member of the club to be a victim of a filibuster here. but it's a -- you know, chuck hagel's zone whatwoman couldn't do in his first four years. he's ignited the left, the right, they're all dissatisfied with chuck hagel. so who knew that it would come
on a nomination for the pentagon, you know, something the president -- >> well, you know, he was making a little fun -- but nia, there was ann wasn't enthusiastic support among democrats about chuck hagel. >> that's right. lots of complaints on his record about gay rights, energy, and so far obama hasn't used these cabinet departments to energize the base at all. kerry's fine. but you're right, in some ways, it's the policies around gun control and immigration. but these picks so far, people are sort of like -- >> hagel symbolizes something else. an enlisted grunt at the head of the pentagon. he has a solid record. again, some of my votes differ from his during my long years in congress, but i think on balance, he will be a steady hand, a little bit of a skeptic about how we go forward. i think that's a good thing, and a close ally of john kerry. >> let me get michael in here. michael, this whole idea of the cabinet, this national security team that obama's put together.
it feels a lot different than the wound four years ago. >> it does. but it's still carrying forward what i think is going to be obama's big mark. i mean, on foreign policy. if you look at where the opposition is coming against hagel on the outside, the money you just mentioned for those ads and some of the ideological opponents, it's really from a group of people who have been defending what is sort of the neoconservative tradition, which is now under assault, continues to be under assault, and which president obama really wants to move away from, hagel represents moving away from this idea that america can be the peace maker, the re-order of the world, to a much more modest point of view, where we don't try to get into land wars, where we do targeted strikes, where we remain very tough and vigilant, but don't play this sort of pieces on the board role. >> and yet, what are we doing? we're about to open up a drone base in north africa. >> a land war, though. >> i'm going to do a quick break
in here. we'll come back and i want to talk about john brennan. a little upset with him. up next, israel sends war planes deep into syrian territory, but what exactly was their target? plus, an ethics error. senator bob menendez breaks the cardinal rule of crisis management. and we're just minutes away from the start of chuck hagel's confirmation hearing. you're watching "the daily rundown," only on msnbc. humans. even when we cross our t's and dot our i's, we still run into problems. namely, other humans. which is why at liberty mutual insurance, auto policies come with new car replacement and accident forgiveness if you qualify. see what else comes standard at libertymutual.com. liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy?
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so we have live pictures here of the hearing room. we're just moments away from the hearing getting underway. moments ago, we saw chuck hagel walk into the building. there he will be giving prepared remarks and then after him, we will hear from two supporters that will introduce him, two former senators, john warner, former republican senator from virginia, and sam nunn, former
senator from georgia. meanwhile, bob menendez admits he failed to disclose private flights he took on a political donor's plane. but he denies allegations the trips were for the purpose of meeting underage prostitutes. nbc news has confirmed that menendez, who was installed as chair of the formulations committee this week, by the way, because john kerry will be secretary of state, paid $58,000 to cover two private flights supplied by solomon melgin, a longtime personal friends of menendez, who has a home in the dominican republic. the payments are in response to a investigation from last fall. at the same time, nbc has confirmed that melgin is under investigation by the fbi and hhs. meanwhile, a conservative website alleges the fbi is looking into whether meglin introduced the new jersey senator to underaged prostituted in the dominican republic,
allegations that menendez's office says are false. now, the only reason we reported that part of the story, by the way, is that menendez's office put out a statement yesterday, specifically denying the allegation of the prostitute story, saying it is a mythology being created by conservative websites. but it was a violation of crisis management 101, don't repeat the allegation against you, because if you do, then those of us have to explain what that allegation was in the first place, even if they are unconfirmed reports. russia, hezbollah, and the arab league are condemning a rare air strike near damascus. they were reporting anti-aircraft missiles to lebanon, where they could have been used against israeli fighters or surveillance drones. the syrian army, however, claims it was a research center. hezbollah released a statement saying, "in line with its inherent spirit of aggression and criminality, israel perpetrated a bar barrack attack
against a syrian installation." weirdly enough, they seem to almost confirm that israel was striking something that was going to hezbollah. you're looking at live pictures of capitol hill, where we're expecting the hagel hearing to get underway in a few minutes. we'll take a quick break and get underway with the hearing and our gaggle. you're watching "the daily rundown," only on msnbc. [ man ] ring ring... progresso this reduced sodium soup says it may help lower cholesterol, how does it work? you just have to eat it as part of your heart healthy diet. step 1. eat the soup. all those veggies and beans, that's what may help lower your cholesterol and -- well that's easy
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here we are, live pictures of the hearing room, where former senator chuck hagel will appear any minute now. let's bring back the gaggle. guys, i'll interrupt you as soon as they begin speak. so jane harman, i'll have you go first here. i want to quickly do something. the next big confirmation hearing will be john brennan and the cia. and mark udall yesterday issued a press release, basically, he asked john brennan, mark udall is on the senate intel committee. and there are a lot of people that will be fine with him at
cia, but don't like the intelligence that's taken place at cia. you ran into these same problems. >> i did. not the one that mark udall is complaining about -- >> he didn't read a report on -- >> and he should have. i hope he will read it in and out. john brennan, please read the report. but the problem i ran into is still going on. and i think it should be corrected. and that was, i wanted the justice department on a classified basis to show me the office of legal council memoranda, justifying some of the activities in bush 43's first term. i never saw those memoranda. later they were released, the john yoo justification, et cetera. and a lot of the legal basis for those activities was very shaky. which i suspected to be the case. in this term, i think the senate and house intel committees should see the memoranda justifying drone strikes against american citizens. the one that got al awlaki in
yemen. i think they should see the whole memo. i think redacted versions should be public. >> let's hear carl levin start the hearing. >> -- secretary of defense. before we begin, i want to first welcome senator inhofe as the new ranking republican in our committee, seceding senator mccain. senator mccain has been a great partner over the last six years and i thank him for all that he has done to get our bills enacted, for all of his leadership on a host of issues, for his support in the work of this committee, and for always keeping our hearings lively. senator inhofe has shown his strong commitment to the national defense over his 20 years on this committee. and i know that we're going to work well together to continue the bipartisan tradition of the committee. we're also pleased to welcome the eight senators who are joining the committee this year, both those who are new to the senate and those who are new to
our committee. senators donnelly, hirano, cain, and king on the democratic side and senators blunt, cruz, fisher and lee on the republican side. you will all find that this is a wonderful committee, where we work across party lines the support our troops and their families and their national defense mission. i would also like to pause for a moment to offer my thanks and the thanks of our committee to secretary panetta, who delayed his retirement and his return to california to serve our country, first as director of intelligence and then as secretaries of defense. secretary panetta has provided a steady hand at the department of defense through very difficult years and has earned our great
respect and our appreciation. finally, before we get started, i would like to announce that the committee will be holding hearings next week on benghazi and the week thereafter on the impact of a sequester on the department of defense. senator hagel, we welcome you. to the armed services committee as an old friend. of those of us with whom you served during your years in the senate. there are few jobs that are more demanding than the position to which you've been nominated. the hours are long and extremely challenging and require sacrifices from both the secretary and his family. we traditionally give our nominees an opportunity to introduce their families at these hearings and we would welcome you doing so during your opening statement. if confirmed, senator hagel would be the first former enlisted man and the first veteran of the vietnam war to serve as secretary of defense.
you can't read senator hagel's account of his military service and not be impressed bit. as senator hagel explained a few years ago, quote, probably most fundamental for me, when we talk of going to war, we need to think it through carefully, not just for the political and the geopolitical and the diplomatic, and the economic consequences and those are important, but at least for me, he said, this old infantry sergeant thinks about when i was in vietnam in 1968, somebody needs to represent that perspective in our government as well. the people in washington make the policy but it's the little guys who come back in the body bags. senator hagel's background provides an invaluable perspective, not only with respect to the difficult decisions and recommendations that a secretary of defense must make, regardingi ing ing the use and the commitment of u.s. troops overseas, but also with
respect to the day-to-day decisions that a secretary must make to ensure that our men and women in uniform and their families receive the support and assistance that they need and deserve. it would be a positive message for our soldiers sailors, airmen and marines in harm's way around the world to know that one of their own holds the highest office in the department of defense and that he has their backs. senator hagel, you would be in a position to make key recommendations regarding afghanistan, where we are down to the presurge level of troops, with 66,000 military personnel in the country. the secretary of defense is called upon to advise the president on the size and mission of a post-2014 so-kaufled residual force and the pace of the drawdown between now and the end of 2014.
the key to this transition is ensuring the readiness and ability of afghan security forces to take over the defense of their own country. i've always believed that that should be our main mission and its key to success. during my trip to afghanistan with senator jack reed last month, we heard from u.s. commanders on the ground that afghan security forces are operating on their own on most operations, including conducting more than 85% of operations with limited or no u.s. support in the difficult regional command east. yet difficult obstacles remain to the process of reducing our forces and shifting responsibility to afghan forces, including the difficulty of negotiating a status of forces agreement, including recent reports that the afghan government might slow down a
successful program of growing and training the afghan local police, and including questions about the current plan to reduce the size of the afghan national security forces from 352,000 to around 230,000 after 2015. we face a number of new and growing threats elsewhere in the world, such as the ongoing threat posed by iran's nuclear weapons program and the increasingly destructive civil war in syria, and the risk that it could result in the loss of control of that country's substantial stockpile of chemical weapons. there's also the continuing instability in other countries affected by the arab spring, the growth of al qaeda affiliates in ungoverned regions, including yemen, somalia, and north africa, and the continued unpredictable behavior of the nuclear armed regime in north korea. we face these challenges at a
time when the d.o.d. budget is under unique pressure as a result of cuts previously agreed upon by congress, the budgeting by continuing resolution and the impending threat of a sequester. secretary panetta has said that a sequester would be devastating for our military. senator hagel's views today on the continuing resolution and the sequester will be of great interest to this committee and to the nation. those of us who have served with senator hagel in the senate know that he is a man who is not afraid to speak his mind. senator hagel has made a number of statements over the course of his career, which committee members will ask him about during today's hearing. for example, senator hagel has stated that unilateral sanctions against iran, quote, are exactly the wrong approach and that, quote, they're the worst thing we can do, would be to try to
isolate iran. i believe that while affected multilateral sanctions are preferable, that unilateral sanctions are an important part of the approach, that the obama administration has followed and that congress has supported, and it appears that sanctions are producing tremendous pressure on iran. another statement which has raised concern is senator hagel's recommendation that we conduct, quote, direct, unconditional, and comprehensive talks with the government of iran. now, while there's value in communicating with our adversaries, the formulation used by senator hagel seemed to imply a willingness to talk to iran on some issues that i believe that most of us would view as nonnegotiatable, and therefore any willingness to talk to iran would need to be highly conditional. senator hagel's reassurance to me and my office that he
supports the obama administration's strong stance against iran is significant. and we look forward to hearing from senator hagel today in some depth on that subject. we will also be interested in senator hagel's addressing troubling statements that he has made about israel and its supporters here in the united states, a statement in 2008, that our policy of nonengagement with the syrians, quote, has isolated us more than the syrians, and a 2009 statement that we should not isolate hamas, a terrorist organization. so there's much to be explored at this hearing, but as we struggle with the difficult security challenges facing our nation, the president needs to have a secretary of defense, in who he has trust, who will give him unvarnished advice, a person
of integrity, and one who has a personal understanding of the consequences of decisions relative to the use of military force. senator hagel certainly has those critically important qualifications to lead the department of defense. senator inhofe? >> thank you, mr. chairman. first of all, i would like to echo your remarks about secretary panetta and the work that he's done. i don't see him here today, but i do recall when he was first nominated, i was probably one of the first phone calls to him and i've enjoyed working with him. with senator mccain, the same way, i've certainly continued to depend on his counsel and you and i have worked very well together in the past. mr. chairman, before i continue the opening statement, i would like to raise a concern about the sufficiency of materials provided to this committee by our nominee.
senator hagel was requested to provide the speeches he's delivered over the last five years, yet his initial submission was for only four speeches, even though was noticed -- by senator cruz, that he had honorary for 12 speeches but submitted four speeches. well, we received some more but only late last night. i hope we can get that information before we have to cast votes on this nominee. thank you, mr. chairman. the president's nomination of senator hagel to serve as the next secretary of defense comes at a critical junction in our military and national security interests. senator hagel is is a good man, who has a record of service. i first learned of that when he was first elected and have been a great admirer of the time that he spent in vietnam, with the sacrifices that he made. and while his service is commendable, the fate of his
nomination should be decided by the totality of his record. it is the votes that he has cast and the statements that he's made over the many years of his career that will inform us as to his judgment, his view of america's role in the world, and his view of the military required to support that role. as i've told senator hagel, in my office, some time ago, to tweaks ago, over two weeks ago, i guess it was, that after a long and careful review of his record and the things that he has said and the things that i have personally experienced with him, that we're too philosophically opposed on the issues facing our country for me to support his nomination, therefore, i told him i would not be supporting his nomination. his record demonstrates what i view as a lack of steadfast opposition to policies that diminish u.s. power and influence throughout the world, as well as a recent trend of policy reversals that seem based
on political expediency rather than core beliefs. on many of the security challenges facing the u.s. interests around the world, senator hagel's record is deeply troubling and out of the mainstream. too often, it seems, he's willing to subscribe to a worldwide view that is predicated on appeasing our adversaries while shunning our friends. i remember quoting hiram man, who says, the best men rot in filthy jails, and those who cry, appease, appease, are hanged by those they tried to please. and i'll mention a few of these things, baa they'll come out in this hearing. in 2000, an overwhelming majority of senators sent a letter to president clinton, reaffirming our solidarity with israel. i was one of them who carried that letter around. i remember it well. and senator hagel was one of just four who refused to sign that letter.
and i'm sure he'll want to comment about that. in 2001, he was one of just two senators who voted against a bill extending harsh sanctions against iran. a year later, he urged the bush administration to support iran's membership in the world trade organization. senator hagel voted against a resolution, designating iran's rev resolutionary guard corps, a group responsible for killing american soldiers in iraq and afghanistan, as a terrorist organization. and on multiple occasions, he has advocating for direct negotiations with iran, who have continually repress its people, pursue nuclear weapon capabilities, and pursue terrorist proxies, including hamas, hezbollah, threaten the people in the region. he has been a supporter of the zero global movement. we're very sensitive to that.
we know that the president has said many times that he wants a nuclear-free world, and i know that senator hagel is right there with him, but at a time when north korea's belligerent actions threaten our allies with their nuclear capabilities and security of our own nation and that of our allies, why would we want to unilaterally disarm ourselves of nuclear capability? of late, however, senator hagel has expressed views in meetings with senate colleagues, i've been informed, and through the press, that appeared glaringly at odds with many of his long-held positions, particularly on issues dealing with israel, iran, and our nuclear arsenal. this apparent willingness to walk back or alter his position, possibly for the sake of political expediency on such important issues is deeply troubling and sends a concerning message to our allies and our
adversaries alike. though i respect senator hagel, his record to date demonstrates that he would be a staunch advocate for the continuation of the misguided policies of the president's first term, retreating from america's unique global leadership role will not make america safer. on the contrary, it will embolden our enemies, endanger our allies, and provide opportunity for nations that do not share our interest to fill a global leadership vacuum we leave behind. it is for these reasons that i believe that he's the wrong person to lead the pentagon at this perilous and consequential time. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much, senator inhofe. we have two former chairman of this committee with us to introduce senator hagel. >> all right, right now, you heard the opening statements,
which felt like almost the prosecution and the defense there between carl levin and jim inhofe. michael scherer, did you hear anything in either opening statement that surprised you? it certainly, i think, set the tone for what kind of hearing this is going to be. >> yeah, i wouldn't say there were surprises, but levin clearly set the tone by saying, here are the concerns that we have, and i'm sure you're going to be able to answer them, as you've that's going to be the formula going forward. someone like senator inwho have is not going to support hagel, but he also doesn't carry much decisive power in this battle. he voted against senator kerry for secretary of state. he does not represent the middle of the republican party that needs to be won over to get those five votes. >> it's interesting you have this committee on one hand you have some of the stalwart conservative tea party icons, ted cruz, new generation, mike lee of utah, jim inhofe more
representing that strabd nd of republican party. >> and i think we'll see that on display. ted cruz is going to make some noise around this issue, particularly around israel. he's visited israel twice over the last couple of months. he's big on that issue. so i don't know if it's going to be the fireworks that we saw with the hillary clinton must-see tv content last week. we're going to see that split very much on display, the tea party folks. >> what should be the line of questioning on hagel? we're going to spend a lot of time on 0 israel which seems to be almost -- where you're going to feel like are we wasting time on that and it should be on "x"? >> it doesn't work that way. >> right. >> congressional hearings are theater. you have to start with that. it's also important that these are the icons introducing hagel. >> the armed services committee. >> a shout out to both of them for their enormous
contributions. and this says something about hagel, that he has this firepower behind him from both parties, but what should be the line of questioning? you know, where i would go is where i worry, sequestration and how harmful it will be if it goes into effect which it seems like it will in the next weeks because can cutting the defense budget with a sledgehammer is going to tank our economy. i mean, the downturn in economic growth, according to reports yesterday, is based spes ofcally on the cutbacks in defense spending and i'm not against cutting defense spending. let me say that as someone who represented a district for 17 years, nine terms in the house. i'm for a robust defense. i'm called a defense hawk. on the other hand, there's a big tail in the defense department and a smooth tooth in the tail including the way health care is delivered there needs a second look. >> brad, you're very close to these house republicans. we heard paul ryan sunday on
"meet the press." sequester, everybody is against it. everybody says they're against it from the president to paul ryan. and yet it's going to happen. >> there's an emerging view among house republicans there's only one place the president is willing to cut the budget and that's here. perhaps he likes this even less than republicans like it. not just because of the defense department. plenty of republicans have lots of misgivings about it. we think it's bad policy. i think we'll see the questioning go to israel and iran and, you know, conservatives have long viewed this pentagon as a check and balance on the president somewhat. they're comfortable with leon panetta, comfortable with gates. the fact hagel is not as close to most republicans on this very hot issue we see today iran sends notice to the iaea to upgrade capabilities, it's a problem we're reading about every day in the paper.
>> and michael scherer, you'll hear hagel say he did it in his questionnaire that he believes that pressure has to continue on e iran and that he's going to be -- the first thing he said he was briefed on when he went to the pentagon was the military -- potential military operation that the u.s. would take against iran. >> yeah, he's going to say the right things on iran. there is the needer here but it is worth paying attention to the fact that hagel will have a lot of control over the pentagon budget, much more than he will in big decisions about what we're going to do with iran. those decisions made by the president, his national security staff. hagel will get a voice in that. but hagel is really going to have a lot of voice in shaping what the pentagon is going forward, so i think in a lot of ways his nomination could be more important in that way. the other thing is bob woodward wrote a piece in "the washington post" in which he quotes hagel saying to the president several years ago that he thinks the
pentagon has had too much power in recent decades in dictating policy, that the president should take more control. i think hagel probably is going to bring that idea into the pentagon. he's going to leave these big policy decisions to the president. he'll give advice, but the big questions of when we go to war or how we go to are war won't necessarily be his decisions. >> i've heard this criticism from military guys who say, hey, the balance is out of whack right now. it's a little too -- the military side of the quote/unquote as eisenhower said is stronger than the military side. >> i'm not uncomfortable with a relook or continued look at how we project power. i think we've learned over ten years, 12 years, of these unpopular years. both of which i supported, that the projection of military power in some ways has an inverse relationship on our success. and it was bob gates, after all, who stood shoulder to shoulder
with hillary clinton and said the state department deserves more money. i think the hagel/kerry alliance, both of them vietnam vets -- >> they get along. >> they get along great. could lead us to a better place. >> we've gone through this in years past, very quickly, but have gone through this. this will be the second straight state and defense secretaries that actually get along. >> that's right. we have the vietnam veteran background. >> and there's an undercurrent in the senate that hagel will get along well. we'll pick up this coverage at the top of the hour. we'll have his opening statement here for you live. tomorrow we're going to be talking about the economy, the january jobs report. bye-bye. [ woman ] ring. ring. progresso.